Rev. Moon lauded for efforts to reunify Koreas

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    • Thousands of people fill the stadium at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, Korea on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, for the seonghwa, or ascension, ceremony, known as the traditional funeral in western terms, for the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Some 15,000 people fit into the stadium, where the funeral was held, with another 10,000 to 15,000 expected to be watching live simulcasts around the complex. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
Thousands of people fill the stadium at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, Korea on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, for the seonghwa, or ascension, ceremony, known as the traditional funeral in western terms, for the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Some 15,000 people fit into the stadium, where the funeral was held, with another 10,000 to 15,000 expected to be watching live simulcasts around the complex. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Hak Ja Han, Rev. Sun Myung Moon's widow, sits in one of two seats reserved for the "True Parents," with the other one being empty, during the seonghwa, or ascension, ceremony, known as the traditional funeral in western terms, for Rev. Moon on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, at the Cheongshim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, Korea. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
Hak Ja Han, Rev. Sun Myung Moon's widow, sits in one of two seats reserved for the "True Parents," with the other one being empty, during the seonghwa, or ascension, ceremony, known as the traditional funeral in western terms, for Rev. Moon on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, at the Cheongshim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, Korea. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Grandson Shin Jun, left, and Kwon Jin Moon, one of the sons of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, carry in a portrait of the spiritual leader at the beginning of the seonghwa, or ascension, ceremony, known as the traditional funeral in western terms, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, Korea. Thousands of mourners from countries around the world came to witness the event and say goodbye to the head of the Unification Church. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
Grandson Shin Jun, left, and Kwon Jin Moon, one of the sons of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, carry in a portrait of the spiritual leader at the beginning of the seonghwa, or ascension, ceremony, known as the traditional funeral in western terms, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, Korea. Thousands of mourners from countries around the world came to witness the event and say goodbye to the head of the Unification Church. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • This flower arrangement was sent by Kim Jung-Un following the death of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Although the church asked that no flowers be sent, they have received hundreds of arrangements, which are all on display Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong-gun, Korea, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)This flower arrangement was sent by Kim Jung-Un following the death of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Although the church asked that no flowers be sent, they have received hundreds of arrangements, which are all on display Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong-gun, Korea, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • The body of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon lies at the palace in the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong-gun, Korea, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Mourners are invited to come pay tribute to the "True Father," offering him prayers and paying respect to his family. His 13-day mourning period culminates on Saturday with an official funeral service. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
The body of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon lies at the palace in the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong-gun, Korea, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Mourners are invited to come pay tribute to the "True Father," offering him prayers and paying respect to his family. His 13-day mourning period culminates on Saturday with an official funeral service. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Dr. Bo Hi Pak told The Washington Times on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 that he believes the Unification Church is "going to grow by leaps and bounds" following the death of founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon. He says that members are determined to live up to the reverend's expectations, and that he personally will "do as much as I can until I die to serve Rev. Moon and Mrs. Moon." He said he never saw the reverend waiver in his mission. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Dr. Bo Hi Pak told The Washington Times on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 that he believes the Unification Church is "going to grow by leaps and bounds" following the death of founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon. He says that members are determined to live up to the reverend's expectations, and that he personally will "do as much as I can until I die to serve Rev. Moon and Mrs. Moon." He said he never saw the reverend waiver in his mission. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Family members of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, including (in white) eldest daughter Ya-Jin stand at left waiting to greet mourners bowing at right after placing flowers on a table below a portrait of the reverend. The family members rotate throughout the day but are present from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. to greet mourners as they come to the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea to pay tribute to the late reverand, who founded the Unification Church. The official funeral service will be held this Saturday. This image was made Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Family members of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, including (in white) eldest daughter Ya-Jin stand at left waiting to greet mourners bowing at right after placing flowers on a table below a portrait of the reverend. The family members rotate throughout the day but are present from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. to greet mourners as they come to the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea to pay tribute to the late reverand, who founded the Unification Church. The official funeral service will be held this Saturday. This image was made Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners bow after placing flowers on a table as an offering to pay tribute to the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon while, at left, family members wait to greet the mourners. Thousands of people have traveled to the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea to pay tribute to the founder of the Unification Church. A funeral will be held on Saturday. This image was made Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners bow after placing flowers on a table as an offering to pay tribute to the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon while, at left, family members wait to greet the mourners. Thousands of people have traveled to the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea to pay tribute to the founder of the Unification Church. A funeral will be held on Saturday. This image was made Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners place flowers (lilies for the mother and roses for the father) on a table inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 to honor the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. His 13-day funeral ends Saturday with a ceremony honoring his life followed by the burial. According to officials, they had to import flowers from Japan because they could not get enough in Korea. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners place flowers (lilies for the mother and roses for the father) on a table inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 to honor the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. His 13-day funeral ends Saturday with a ceremony honoring his life followed by the burial. According to officials, they had to import flowers from Japan because they could not get enough in Korea. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • An usher shows mourners the way to place flowers (lilies for the mother and roses for the father) at a table inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea in honor of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex to pay their respects for the founder of the Unification Church over the past several days. His 13-day funeral will culminate in a ceremony on Saturday in which some 30,000 are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)An usher shows mourners the way to place flowers (lilies for the mother and roses for the father) at a table inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea in honor of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex to pay their respects for the founder of the Unification Church over the past several days. His 13-day funeral will culminate in a ceremony on Saturday in which some 30,000 are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • A mourner signs an electronic guest book at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex before going in to offer a flower and greet family members of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex near Seoul, Korea over the last few days to pay tribute to the reverend, who founded the Unification Church. The official funeral services will be held on Saturday. Some 30,000 are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)A mourner signs an electronic guest book at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex before going in to offer a flower and greet family members of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex near Seoul, Korea over the last few days to pay tribute to the reverend, who founded the Unification Church. The official funeral services will be held on Saturday. Some 30,000 are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • An usher indicates a place where mourners carrying flowers should pause before approaching a long table to place the flowers at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have passed through the complex in the last few days to pay tribute to the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. The mourners placed flowers (lilies for the mother and roses for the father) as part of the tribute. According to officials, they had to import flowers from Japan because they could not get enough in Korea. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)An usher indicates a place where mourners carrying flowers should pause before approaching a long table to place the flowers at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have passed through the complex in the last few days to pay tribute to the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. The mourners placed flowers (lilies for the mother and roses for the father) as part of the tribute. According to officials, they had to import flowers from Japan because they could not get enough in Korea. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Ho-yeul Ahn, general manager of the public relations division of the Tongil Group, who was authorized by Hyung-jin Moon to speak on behalf of the Unification Church, told The Washington Times on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, that he believes the church will only get bigger and stronger following the death of founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Ho-yeul Ahn, general manager of the public relations division of the Tongil Group, who was authorized by Hyung-jin Moon to speak on behalf of the Unification Church, told The Washington Times on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, that he believes the church will only get bigger and stronger following the death of founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Ushers hold open a curtain that leads into a room to watch a video presentation on the life of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come over the past few days to pay tribute to the reverend. Once inside the complex, they first watched the video on his life, then signed in electronically before being given flowers to offer and the chance to write a remembrance on a special wall. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Ushers hold open a curtain that leads into a room to watch a video presentation on the life of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come over the past few days to pay tribute to the reverend. Once inside the complex, they first watched the video on his life, then signed in electronically before being given flowers to offer and the chance to write a remembrance on a special wall. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • A young boy waits with his mother to place flowers on a table inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 to honor the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Mourners placed flowers (roses for the father and lilies for the mother) on a table and then bowed before family members. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)A young boy waits with his mother to place flowers on a table inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 to honor the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Mourners placed flowers (roses for the father and lilies for the mother) on a table and then bowed before family members. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Counselor Minha Kim, president of the Advisory Council on Korean Unification, spoke with The Washington Times on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 about the funeral services for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Korea. Mr. Kim helped to organize the funeral services. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Counselor Minha Kim, president of the Advisory Council on Korean Unification, spoke with The Washington Times on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 about the funeral services for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Korea. Mr. Kim helped to organize the funeral services. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Signs in all languages honoring the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon have been hung on the road to the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea to pay tribute to the father of the Unification Church. The official funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 15. Thirty thousand mourners from around the world are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Signs in all languages honoring the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon have been hung on the road to the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea to pay tribute to the father of the Unification Church. The official funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 15. Thirty thousand mourners from around the world are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners sign an electronic guest book at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex before going in to offer a flower and greet family members of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex near Seoul, Korea over the last few days to pay tribute to the reverend, who founded the Unification Church. The official funeral services will be held on Saturday.  (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners sign an electronic guest book at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex before going in to offer a flower and greet family members of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex near Seoul, Korea over the last few days to pay tribute to the reverend, who founded the Unification Church. The official funeral services will be held on Saturday. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • A mourner sits down near several flower arrangements at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Although the announcement of the death of Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon asked for no flowers, hundreds of these tribute flowers have poured into the complex over the last week.  (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)A mourner sits down near several flower arrangements at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Although the announcement of the death of Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon asked for no flowers, hundreds of these tribute flowers have poured into the complex over the last week. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners watch a video slideshow with photographs of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Since thousands of mourners have come to pay tribute to the reverend, they ask them to watch this slideshow, then a video on the reverend's life and then go down to offer flowers and greet the family. This way the complex does not get overly crowded. They expect 30,000 to attend the funeral services on Saturday. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners watch a video slideshow with photographs of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. Since thousands of mourners have come to pay tribute to the reverend, they ask them to watch this slideshow, then a video on the reverend's life and then go down to offer flowers and greet the family. This way the complex does not get overly crowded. They expect 30,000 to attend the funeral services on Saturday. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners leave the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center stadium outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 after offering flowers and greeting the family of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The official funeral ceremony will be held Saturday. Some 30,000 people are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners leave the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center stadium outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 after offering flowers and greeting the family of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The official funeral ceremony will be held Saturday. Some 30,000 people are expected to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners file past some of the hundreds of flower arrangements sent to honor the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, including this all-white arrangement at far right sent by the president of South Korea. The official funeral will be held here at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Saturday.  (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners file past some of the hundreds of flower arrangements sent to honor the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, including this all-white arrangement at far right sent by the president of South Korea. The official funeral will be held here at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Saturday. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners write messages for the family of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. These message walls are filled and must be replaced every day, according to officials. They will later be moved to the museum, which is inside the palace building on the complex. The church currently has members in 194 countries around the world. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners write messages for the family of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon inside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. These message walls are filled and must be replaced every day, according to officials. They will later be moved to the museum, which is inside the palace building on the complex. The church currently has members in 194 countries around the world. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • A volunteer hands a rose to a mourner at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 so that the mourner can place it as an offering on a table beneath a portrait of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex near Seoul, Korea to pay their respects to the reverend, who founded the Unification Church. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)A volunteer hands a rose to a mourner at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 so that the mourner can place it as an offering on a table beneath a portrait of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Thousands of mourners have come to the complex near Seoul, Korea to pay their respects to the reverend, who founded the Unification Church. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners stand in line outside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 to pay tribute to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Traditional Korean funerals last three days, but the reverend's funeral will go for 13 days. It culminates Saturday, Sept. 15 with a SeongHwa Ceremony, which is considered the final farewell ceremony before burial. They are expecting some 30,000 people to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners stand in line outside the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex outside of Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 to pay tribute to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Traditional Korean funerals last three days, but the reverend's funeral will go for 13 days. It culminates Saturday, Sept. 15 with a SeongHwa Ceremony, which is considered the final farewell ceremony before burial. They are expecting some 30,000 people to attend. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
    • Mourners file past a portrait of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon as they prepare to offer flowers in tribute to him at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The 13-day memorial will culminate Saturday with a funeral service. Officials are expecting to completely fill the 30,000-person stadium. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)Mourners file past a portrait of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon as they prepare to offer flowers in tribute to him at the Cheongpyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center complex near Seoul, Korea on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The 13-day memorial will culminate Saturday with a funeral service. Officials are expecting to completely fill the 30,000-person stadium. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)
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    GAPYEONG, South Korea — It’s just one floral tribute among hundreds here, but the stand of white paper chrysanthemums draped by a ribbon of Korean characters bears some unique political and diplomatic weight.

    The wreath expresses the condolences of new young North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the death of Unification Church founder and spiritual guide the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who devoted much of his life and ministry to seeking an end to the long standoff that has divided the Korean Peninsula for more than 60 years.

    In a culture that values both hierarchy and diplomatic nuance, the effusive welcome given the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the 33-year-old youngest son of Rev. Moon and his designated spiritual successor, on a visit to Pyongyang just days after his father’s death turned heads in both Seoul and Washington. The warm reception also sent a strong signal that the Unification Church’s pioneering business ventures in the North, including a car manufacturer and a resort hotel, will not only survive but also expand despite Rev. Moon’s passing.

    Hyung Jin Moon and Park Sang-kwon, the Korean-American businessman who heads Pyeonghwa Motors, were received by Jang Song-thaek, the new North Korean leader’s influential uncle, who personally read out the message of condolence and bestowed an award on the senior Rev. Moon for his work to unify the two Koreas.

    Mr. Park, in an interview at the church’s sprawling complex northeast of Seoul, confirmed that North Korean officials had extended an invitation for Han Hak Ja, Rev. Moon’s widow and the new head of his ministry, to visit Pyongyang — a trip Mr. Park said he hopes can take place in a year to 18 months.

    This flower arrangement was sent by Kim Jung-Un following the death of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Although the church asked that no flowers be sent, they have received hundreds of arrangements, which are all on display Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong-gun, Korea, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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    This flower arrangement was sent by Kim Jung-Un following the death of ... more >

    The younger Mr. Moon also met with grieving relatives, including Rev. Moon’s younger sister, from his father’s native village in Jangju, North Pyongyang Province, North Korea. Hyung Jin Moon traveled to Pyongyang in December for the memorial services for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who had built a close relationship with the senior Rev. Moon over the years.

    Mr. Park and other church officials interviewed ahead of Saturday’s official burial ceremony for Rev. Moon uniformly expressed confidence that the church’s unusual economic foothold in North Korea will continue to prosper even as the Unification Church deals with major internal succession issues.

    “I really feel there will be no change in our situation,” Mr. Park said, “because North Korean officials are telling us they feel more strongly than ever, even though Rev. Moon has passed away, that we can make an ever stronger alliance.”

    He said the church has been one of the few institutions that has been able to finesse the paralyzing dynamic of North-South relations, in which Seoul counts on its economic might and prosperity to prevail while Pyongyang relies on its military machine and nuclear arsenal to eventually seize the upper hand.

    “Rev. Moon always told me not to think of money and profits in dealing with the North, but to think of how we can help them, with the idea that someday things will change,” Mr. Park said.

    The profits, though modest, already have come — Mr. Park said the 10-year-old Pyeonghwa Motors turned its first profit three years ago and remains in the black, though its production run of fewer than 2,000 cars a year is dwarfed by South Korea’s other major automakers. But selling 2,000 cars annually in a desperately poor country like North Korea, with its rudimentary credit, sales and service infrastructure, is “like selling 200,000 cars a year in some Western markets,” Mr. Park said.

    Ahn Ho-yeul, general manager of the Tongil Group and a spokesman for Hyung Jin Moon, confirmed that the church’s new generation of leaders is “committed to the same approach” that Rev. Moon developed in relations with North Korea.

    Despite the reverend’s lifelong aversion to communism, Mr. Ahn said, the church’s commercial overtures to the North have thrived by pointedly ignoring the political dimensions of engagement.

    “The Rev. Moon’s approach was always based on the logic of national unification, and did not try to include divisive economic or political issues. That was the reason both the North and the South allowed us to proceed,” he said.

    Mr. Park confirmed to South Korean reporters after his return from Pyongyang last week that issues of inter-Korean relations were not even discussed during the trip.

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    About the Author
    David R. Sands

    David R. Sands

    Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

    At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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